Video of the Day: “Looking For a Tenor” Rehearsal

The Gerald Wolfe-penned “Looking for a Tenor” was one of the biggest hits all week at the 2011 National Quartet Convention. In case you missed, check out this video from rehearsal:

Here’s the end result:

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47 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Very clever! I really liked the first video! That was some great video editing! And the song was good too! However if I were Gerald Wolfe or any other board member, I’d be embarrassed to have ANY public footage of NQC that shows the empty upper bowl in that arena. Southern Gospel music is GREAT but the crowd is dying off and there’s not enough young talent and fans to keep it going. This saddens me.

    • I think this was from an afternoon showcase, and those haven’t been full, at least for years.

      • Be that as it may, I was there for most of the week; you know it and I know it, the upper bowl (and you could even say the upper portion of the lower bowl as well) was basically empty every night. My point still stands about the genre literally dying away 🙁

      • Things were noticeably better on Thursday and Friday – Friday especially.

        I disagree that the genre is dying. I believe that the economy is making events involving driving across the country shrink. But one event shrinking doesn’t mean that the genre is dying. It is shrinking somewhat and changing somewhat, but it sure isn’t dying. 🙂

      • I don’t really think it’s dying, but I think it’s all a cycle. The majority of the fan base is senior citizens, and it was that way 30 years ago when I was a kid.

        I wasn’t at NQC, but I did watch the webcast & I emailed Clark Beasley and express several areas of concern. His office replied that they would be taking my letter to the Board of Directors.

        Who knows. . . all in all, I’m a die-hard fan of SG, but when we go to SG concerts now, the venues are rarely packed, and there are very few young people in attendance.

      • Old-timers say it was almost all old people in attendance 30 years ago, too. Even now, we have new old people. 🙂

      • That was my point, Daniel. 30 years ago the majority of the fans were senior citizens, and it is the same today.

        Some of the main differences I have witnessed are things like enthusiasm, length of the concert, etc.

        I remember hearing:
        The Statesmen w/ Hovie, Rosie Rozell, etc
        The Blackwood Brothers w/ James, Ken Turner etc.
        Jerry & the Singing Goffs
        Wendy Bagwell & the Sunlighters
        The Cathedrals w/ George, Glen, George Amon Webster, & Roy Tremble

        Wow! Now THOSE were some concerts! The groups were pumped & so were the fans! Great memories.

      • Oh – and dare I forget The Mighty Kingsmen!
        The Happy Goodmans
        The original Hinsons
        The Dixie Melody Boys
        Hopper Brothers & Connie(I’m old)
        Orrell Brothers

        Back in the day, The Cathedrals & The Kingsmen used to do something similar to KingsGold and they had you begging for more.

      • “Back in the day, The Cathedrals & The Kingsmen used to do something similar to KingsGold and they had you begging for more.”
        Were they called the Kingcats or Catkings? 😉

      • I respectfully disagree. As Les Beasley once said…”Our audience was old people fifty years ago…surely they’re gone by now, and we’re singing to new old people!” The fact is, this style of music has always been, and will always be a music for a more “mature” people. I’ve been going to concerts since before I could walk, and my first memories of seeing the “big groups” also includes memories of me being one of the few kids in the building.

        A Demographics Researcher told me a couple of years ago that the potential for growth in Gospel Music is greater than ever. There are more 60-yr. olds now than ever before in history, and twenty years from now, there will be twice as many as there are today. The threat we face, believe it or not, is from “within”. When I was a kid, this was the kind of music I heard at church. That’s not the case anymore, so kids aren’t being exposed to it much. As they get older, they won’t have that point of reference that our Seniors have now. It’ll be more difficult to get them to give it a “first listen”. However, when they do hear Gospel Music performed well… many of them will fall in love with it. We meet people every week who tell us things like “I had never heard of this music until a friend of mine invited me to a concert. I love it!”

        Our job is to concentrate on keeping the quality high…since we already have the greatest message known to man!

      • I could not have said it better!

      • Gerald, I hope you are right, but I have concerns. Like you touched upon, SG isn’t being played in many churches. I play it a lot in my church, but admittedly much of the youth isn’t interested. They are into the P&W stuff and the stuff they hear at Icthus. We had a very good SG trio at church (no, NOT you guys, but a group who has been at the top of the charts) and the youth director brought them. They just were not interested and asked to go to the youth room right away. On the opposite side, the pastor who is in his early fifties said it was the best concert we had had.

        Maybe they will come around when they get older, but like you said they aren’t exposed to it as much now. Plus, SG (or more accurately GM) was closer in some ways to being contemporary back then than it is now. Could SG be like Barbersho[, Jazz etc. that have a few loyal fans but might be dying out? I hope not because I love it and I am about 10 years younger than my pastor.

        There are a few teens who like the music, have sung many songs they ahve heard on the Gaither Videos (which incidentally has done a lot at exposing people to the genre including me to many artists I wouldn’t have heard at the time. We have since gotten an SG station, so maybe I would have then).

        My concern is that the youth will see the music of today as their SG and will come back to it decades from now when they are old people instead of SG.

      • Gerald, you are a trip! I would love to have the words to your song, Looking For a Tenor. It cracked me totally up. I couldn’t understand all of them because the recording isn’t great and I didn’t get to go to the NQC. Could you possibly share them? I absolutely love your music and think you are one of the most talented guys in southern gospel music today.


        Peggy Younce Sowersby
        (Yes, I’m a distant relative to George.)

        PS – That story about your bus being hit by a swimming pool had me in the floor. Too funny!

  2. Who is the pianist on this Looking for a Tenor video?

  3. So … I mean, you didn’t tell us … did they manage to find Caleb?

    • Not by NQC, anyhow!

    • 😆

      You have to remember though…Caleb wants to be a bass. 😉

      • Oh, I know that … but isn’t it better to be a Wes Hampton-tier or David Phelps-tier tenor than a Bill Gaither-tier bass? 🙂 He’s great just as he is! 🙂

      • Well, yes, definitely! We keep encouraging him to be the lead tenor he is…for we currently already have a bass. 😉 Just sayin’, though! 🙂

      • Hey, if he turns out to be as good a bass as Mike Jennings, nobody will complain! 🙂

  4. Replying here since the mobile browser doesn’t allow threads. I’d say there’s hope for Celeb yet. Wasn’t it sixth grade where George Younce won an award for the highest singing?

    • Amy,

      Oh, good! There’s hope for me yet! For right now, I’ll just sing lead/tenor…and some low dives. 😉

      – Caleb for TGF

      • Caleb,

        I think that as long as you continue to deliver songs with the same enthusiasm you offer now, we’ll all enjoy watching your videos, whether you’re a bass, tenor, or one of the parts that, as Scott Fowler says, nobody comes out to see. 🙂


      • Daniel,

        I am glad I have enthusiasm! I really love to sing! I am glad you enjoy our videos! I’ll tell Scott Fowler all those parts are needed to make it sound good! 😀

        Caleb for TGF

      • It was part of his long-running “Winging My Way Back Home” skit. 🙂

      • Yeah and Glen Payne said it before Fowler was even in the Cats (and he wasn’t the first to say it either).

      • Bless you kiddo…

  5. Sweet mercy……..hearing Glen talk at length like that is totally thrilling. His delivery,and expressions are awesome!!!

    • And listen to Mark Trammell match Danny’s range and timbre on the end!

      • Cool video!

        (Thanks quartet-man.)

      • Matt Yeah, there are few times in concert videos where Glen talked more.

        Aaron: Yeah Trammell was great at helping getting a high note placed and blended before the tenor moved up to a higher note. One place that comes to mind is “This Ol’ House”, but he did it a lot on fifths before the tenor would move up to the root. I think this helped the tenor out a lot. He also did a similar thing on “Somebody Touched Me” at times, but here he hit the root with Danny before he moved down to the fifth. I really do think this helped the tenors by giving them support until they settled on the high note because face it, singing high so much can be taxing.

      • Sorry Daniel, I meant to put “you’re welcome” next and got into my big Trammel gushing. D

      • Another similar place is “Champion of Love”

      • Love that analysis. Picking apart chords and subtle moments in a song….just love it. Who better to pick on than the CATHEDRALS!!:-))

      • Matt, you are talking my language. 😀 I love these moments in music and talking about them. Thanks Aaron for getting things started. 🙂

      • Here is one example of Trammell doing it on “Somebody Touched Me” notice at the end he gives Funderburk a chance to rest while taking the root himself. Funderburk has time to recover from the high notes and take the note back before Trammell moves down to the fifth. In the old days Funderburk would take the third above and move down to the root (at which point Trammell moved down). The chord would have sounded less full and a bit awkward had Trammell not taken the root (since George was stepping down the the root an octave down from where he started) and Payne was on the third. Really, the fifth is the least important note in a major chord (although it is big in oriental music). It is mostly a filler so its absence is not as noticeable.

        Start around 3:25.

      • It had been a long time since I saw the video to which I linked. Watched Glen shake Mark’s arm at around 3:23. LOL Excited much? 😀 I’ll bet that made playing bass a little difficult there, but it sure is fun to watch. 😀

      • With four singers, you are potentially quite exposed. So, to be able to bridge gaps, and support the guy next to you, if you know how to do it, it can not only draw out the tension of the last few chords, but it also entertains.
        In a choral setting, you’ve got 10 or however many on the SAME NOTE. I’ve done alot of singing in both, and as much as I enjoy the power of choral music, the edge you can get from four guys, is to me unbeatable. Am I drifing Off Topic? :_)))

      • You’re right, in that in choir you have others singing the same note. That is how you can stagger breathing there and possibly be fine. In a quartet much like a bell choir, you are it at times. If you aren’t doing the note, it isn’t being done (although an octave might be played somewhere.)

      • Well, Matt, the topic is “looking for a tenor,” and y’all are discussing here what makes a good tenor better.

        Plus, the discussion is absolutely fascinating. 🙂

        So, I’ll rule it “on topic”! 🙂

  6. I LOVED “Looking for a Tenor” at NQC. Honestly, it was one of the most memorable moments of the week. Thanks, Gerald for taking time to create something that is just plain fun. I’ll vote for you next year for songwriter. 😉

    • I was thinking of starting a campaign. 🙂

      (Seriously, if the campaign even achieved a top 10 nomination, I would count it a success!)

      • Let me know when the campaign starts. So much fun!

  7. Speaking of looking for tenors, I hear the MTQ has found somebody, perhaps on a temporary basis, whose name I can’t recall. Their website doesn’t say anything. Can anyone confirm that?

    • The man’s name is Jim Cox, and as of Oct. 1, he is the temporary tenor.

  8. i know this is a old post .but there are young people who like southern gospel and middle age as well .im 25 and been listing for years.